MILWAUKEE -- After showing off an advanced bat during his first big league Spring Training, the Brewers are betting that top prospect Keston Hiura will be able to hold his own in the advanced Class A Carolina League.
Hiura was assigned to the Carolina Mudcats, and the club's No. 2 prospect, Corbin Burnes, was sent to Triple-A Colorado Springs on Tuesday as the Brewers set initial rosters for all four of their full-season affiliates. Those rosters will have to be cut to 25 players apiece by Thursday, when all four clubs are scheduled to open play.
Here's where the members of MLB Pipeline's Top 30 list, who are not in the Major Leagues, landed on initial affiliate rosters, with their ranking in parentheses:
Triple-A Colorado Springs
RHP Burnes, OF Brett Phillips (6), RHP Freddy Peralta (10), IF Mauricio Dubon (11), RHP Taylor Williams (18), RHP Jorge Lopez (24), C Jacob Nottingham (27)
Other notables:Junior Guerra, the Brewers' Opening Day starter in 2017, is certainly notable, even if he's well beyond prospect status. First baseman Ji-Man Choi scored the winning run for the Brewers on Opening Day before he was optioned to make room for a pitcher. The Brewers just signed another Major League veteran, Andres Blanco, to play third base at Colorado Springs. Right-hander Aaron Wilkerson would have filled out the rotation with Burnes, Guerra, Bubba Derby and Peralta had he not suffered a left (non-throwing) shoulder injury at the end of Spring Training. Wilkerson will miss at least a couple of weeks.
IF Lucas Erceg (4), RHP Luis Ortiz (5), OF Corey Ray (7), OF Trent Grisham (8), RHP Adrian Houser (13), RHP Cody Ponce (14), IF Jake Gatewood (19), LHP Kodi Medeiros (20), OF Troy Stokes Jr. (22) RHP Zack Brown (25)
Other notables:Nick Franklin, a former first-round Draft pick who served in a utility role for the Brewers early in 2017, re-signed with the organization and will convert to catcher this season. Starter Thomas Jankins and relievers Nate Griep and Quintin Torres-Costa didn't crack MLB Pipeline's Top 30, but they are well-regarded in the system. Griep has 53 saves over the past two seasons at the Brewers' two Class A affiliates. Torres-Costa struck out 91 in 66 innings between Carolina and Biloxi last season before getting a spot alongside Griep in the Arizona Fall League.
Class A Advanced Carolina
IF Hiura, RHP Marcos Diplan (12), RHP Trey Supak (23)
Other notables: Left-hander Nathan Kirby faces a critical year after losing two straight seasons to elbow surgeries. Now 24, he was the 40th overall pick in the 2015 Draft out of the University of Virginia. Fans of this team will have to keep their Diplans separate. While Marcos starts, right-hander Nattino Diplan (no relation) is likely to pitch out of the bullpen. Former first-round Draft pick Clint Coulter (27th overall in 2012) is taking a step back in his seventh professional season after spending all of last year at Biloxi.
Class A Wisconsin
OF Tristen Lutz (9), C KJ Harrison (21)
Other notables: Right-hander Carlos Herrera and catcher Payton Henry are outside MLB Pipeline's Top 30 list, but did make a similar ranking from Baseball America and are prospects to watch. Lutz, Harrison and right-handers Bowden Francis and Alec Bettinger were all among the Brewers' picks in the top 10 rounds of last year's Draft.
Not yet assigned
C Mario Feliciano (15), IF Jean Carmona (16), RHP Caden Lemons (17), OF Carlos Rodriguez (26), OF Je'Von Ward (28), OF Larry Ernesto (29), LHP Brendan Murphy (30)
Feliciano will be assigned to Carolina in the coming weeks, but he experienced soreness in his throwing shoulder during Spring Training and needed more time in extended camp. He has resumed throwing, farm director Tom Flanagan said. Carmona, Lemons, Ward and Murphy are all ticketed for one of the Brewers' Rookie league affiliates in Helena, Mont., and Phoenix, which begin play in June.
Rodriguez and Ernesto were international signings last summer and will begin their professional careers in the Dominican Summer League this year.